I’ve been a reporter for more than a dozen years now. I am OK with the fact that people don’t believe everything they read. But I don’t understand how people think politicians are more believable than the media that covers them.

Politicians lie. That’s all there is to it. Every single one of them. I don’t care how wonderful your candidate is, they are a liar. They have lots of reasons to get you to believe what they’re telling you. It all has to do with money and power. And occasionally mistresses. That’s really all they want.

What Lies

This short satirical video explains it all.

And yet journalists are condemned as biased whenever they point out these shortcomings. In my admittedly short tenure, I have met some reporters who were biased against certain politicians. Some had a David complex, looking for a Goliath to slay. But most of the reporters I know don’t care who is in office as long as they give a good quote. They don’t have a horse in the race. If they are on anybody’s side at all, it’s the taxpayer.

Journalists make mistakes. I have made my share. But one mistake will make people condemn a news source, while politicians can make all the mistakes in the world and be untouchable. Maybe it’s because politicians have more charisma than most journalists. Maybe people just believe what they want to believe. No matter what, I’ll never understand why journalists are trusted less than the politicians they report on.

The Year of Batman Doing Things Batman Wouldn’t Do

(mild spoilers)

People complain that the theaters are filled with super hero movies. Well, 2016 had three theatrical releases with the same super hero: Batman.

Batman Vs. Superman

The Killing Joke

Suicide Squad

Most people didn’t care. The Killing Joke had such a limited theatrical release that it didn’t blip on too many people’s radar screens, and the people it did were happy to have more Bat for their bucks. Suicide Squad wasn’t technically a Batman film. And, finally, he had to share the first one with the big blue boy scout.

However, in each of these three movies, Batman did things that were very un-Batmanlike.

Much has been written about Batman’s murderish thuggery in BvS. In Killing Joke, he crossed the line with Barbara Gordon. In Suicide Squad, he kissed Harley the way someone using roofies would. He also endangered a child when bringing in Deadshot. (Although, it could be argued that he was scaring his daughter to make sure she grows up right.)

Other Worlds cover

It’s true that comic book characters get trapped into never changing for decades. Sometimes, radical changes are forced upon them. But some things are just a part of them. Sure, there are articles showing a bunch of times that Batman used guns. And sure, he killed people even in his first appearance. But after 80 years, with multiple appearances every month during the last few decades, if you can only count on a handful of times that he did those things, then those are the anomalies, not the true character. They were probably lapses in writing, or times when the character hadn’t been fully developed yet.

Heroes should make mistakes. However, these were mistakes Batman wouldn’t make. It makes you wonder who at DC approved these parts of the scripts.

The problem with humor is that you have to be quick about it. The news cycle goes quickly. Before you realize it, people are talking about the next big thing. In order to have great comedic timing, you have to say something no one else has said, and you have to say it quickly.

FBI: Hillary Stupid, Not A Crook

So I tried something. I have a YouTube channel where I spoof the news. I made a satire video about the FBI investigation into whether Hillary Clinton broke the law by using a private e-mail server. I uploaded this video for two reasons: 1. A lot of the news articles I was seeing was missing the point that the investigation was just to see if she was treasonous (in other words if she did it on purpose). And 2: To see if people would click on my video over a week after the news broke.

The Hillary e-mail thing is kind of old news. However, it is proving to have a bit of an evergreen appeal, as people continue to talk about it. Considering it takes a long time for people to actually find my videos, anything I publish is old news.

When I went to college, there were PR companies that would recruit college students to watch a movie and fill out a form on our opinions about it. We had to hide that we were studying film or writing or anything. They only wanted normal people. Nobody who had any background on how to craft a story, or a three-act structure, or the difference between a simile and a metaphor. Just your average Joe.

So, my friend and I were handed tickets to see “Runaway Bride.” We sat toward the back. As the movie started, there was the noise starting behind us. The noise was of people trying desperately to be quiet while they murmured. Now, we had heard that some of the famous actors and actresses that appear in the movies sometimes drop in unannounced to get a feel from the crowd. So, my friend and I asked the people behind us who showed up, thinking it was either Richard Gere or Julia Roberts.

“No one, just the director,” they said.

I was an aspiring writer. My friend, an aspiring director. We didn’t want to meet Richard Gere or Julia Roberts. We wanted to meet Garry Marshall!

At the end of the movie, we filled out our questionnaire and filed out into the lobby. There, we saw Marshall talking with a couple of suits. We came up with something to say to him and waited for an opportunity to sneak in. We stood about 25 feet away and lingered. Marshall had one eye on us for a few minutes. I figured he was trying to figure out a way to ditch us. Instead, he put up his hand to interrupt the suits and walked over to us. That’s right, he stopped talking to the corporate people and made some time to meet us. He asked us our names and what we thought of the movie. Honestly, I don’t remember what I said. My friend said something about the music choices. He thanked us for our feedback and went back to the suits.

It was just a cool moment. He was pretty friendly and just seemed genuine. Every once in a while, you hear about someone meeting a celebrity and he was a decent human being. This was definitely one of those cases.

Short Lives cover 1

SPOILER ALERT…obviously…

carl and ron

At the end of the mid-season finale of Season 6, when virtually every character was in a cliffhanger, Sam has the final lines of the episode: “Mom…Mom…Mom…”

These words haunted me until the premiere aired, and Sam is somehow…fine. He assures his mom he can do this, and they go off together. This little side scene doesn’t really fit, and the only purpose it seemed to serve was to get Gabriel and Judith out of immediate harm.

But they didn’t need to.

They should have just had Sam freak out like we all expected him to do. The sound shuts off, like it did, so we only hear a little of what the characters are saying. Imagine now how much more intense that scene would have been if, when everything got quiet, all we heard was Judith start to cry.

The next few seconds play out as they did. When Carl goes down, we know that Judith is still strapped to him. Rick has to carry them both out.

Dust In The Wind Cover2

A Zombie Mystery available on all e-formats.

In the ensuing chaos, Father Gabriel gets separated from the others. There’s a minute or so of him panicking and you assume he’s not going to make it until he finds safe harbor at the church.

What I Learned: Don’t fool your audience by backtracking over a cliffhanger.

It’s been said that there’s nothing new under the sun. Everything’s already been done.

Maybe.

But that’s why you’ve got to combine stuff, make it new, and make it your own.

Take Deadpool, for example:

Deadpool_thumbs_up

Deadpool = Spider-Man + Wolverine + Deathstroke + Ash from Army of Darkness

 

 

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A hilarious Choose-Your-Own-Adventure!

It didn’t take long for the internet to learn that Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, had been married four times herself.

This kind of doxing is usually reserved for “real” celebrities (or someone who says something you don’t like on social media.)

I’m coining the term “Fogled” right now. It means when you become relatively famous for some minor thing, and then the world finds out all your secrets.Fogle

Honestly, no one would care if someone was a hypocrite who was married 4 times and had children from adultery…except that they are tied into the newsworthy rights for gay marriage. And Jared Fogle would have been just some guy having sex with children. You wouldn’t have known anything about this case…except that he was in commercials for Subway (Like when the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” kid was busted for pot). In fact, the only reason his crimes were discovered was because a Subway franchise owner came to the police about texts he sent her. If he had never become a spokesman, he would still be free to commit more crimes.

It’s similar to the schadenfreude you feel when something karmic happens to Kanye West or Miley Cyrus. (Schadenfreude is when you derive pleasure from another’s misfortune. It is not to be confused with schaden-Freud, in which you derive pleasure from someone else’s awkward relationship with their parents.)

Short Lives cover 1

Please check out my book: 30 short stories for a dollar!

2 Billy Crystal Movies Accidentally Released At Same Time

Two films that star Billy Crystal are now currently in theaters. The film industry meant to do this with Brad Pitt but made a mistake.

Image  —  Posted: December 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The holidays are all about being with your family. Sometimes, this includes your alternate reality counterparts.

The Mann family of Amherst, Texas received unexpected guests for the holidays: their alter-Earth versions from a timeline where the planet was destroyed during a Mayan apocalypse.

“It was really interesting to see how the other half lived…when the other half is us,” said Howard Mann.

This world’s Howard Mann is a software tester. His alter-Earth counterpart is a quantum engineer who designed the escape pod he used to jettison his family into this dimension.

“It’s interesting to hear his version of things…but if I have to hear him refer to it as the “Fall of Mann” one more time, I’m finding some way to send him back,” Howard said.

The Manns called newspaper and television crews to document the first ever inter-dimensional holiday gathering.

When Howard’s father came for Christmas dinner, Alter-Howard grabbed him and held him tight, sobbing “I should have built the pod bigger! I should have built the pod bigger!”

“Our house looks nice,” Alter-Debbie Mann said. “I mean, your house looks nice…that’s just the way we had decorated the house…before the lava wave came by…”

“I don’t mean to sound rude,” our-Earth Debbie said, “but I thought you said there was another ice age?”

“Yes, an ice age and a lava flood at the same time.”

The Mann family of Earth Prime, which is what they’ve started to refer to our world as, had to buy extra presents at the last minute for their extended family.

“I wanted a 3DS,” 11-year-old Chase Mann whined.

“We went over this, Chase,” his father Howard replied. “You already have a DS. You don’t need a 3DS.”

Chase’s Alter-Dad held him tightly and said “At least you still have Chase. I’d have given him anything. We lost our Chase when the meteors split the earth, and the dinosaurs came out.”

“Aren’t dinosaurs extinct on Alter-Earth?” Chase asked.

“Yes,” his Alter-Dad said. “These were zombie dinosaurs.”

 

 

In other news:

Mayan 2012 Doomsday Prediction Is Wrong:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsoz4pEGuas&playnext=1&list=PLF95AEF809261369E&feature=results_video

I made a mix CD for my daughter for Christmas of songs she likes. As I sit here listening, I decided to try a writing experiment. Here’s a conversation I invented using lines from each of 10 songs, in the order they appear on the album. I imagine it’s one person trying to cheer up another. The answers are in the tags.

Charlie Brown: “Break the doors down.

Don’t go wasting your emotion.

Didn’t I see you crying?”

Zach Galifianakis: “It’s been a really messed up week.

I need to get my story straight.

Gonna be a big man someday.

There’s no time for losers.”

Charlie: “You’re a good man.

I heard about you before.

Just take a chance and believe in you.”

<Zach doesn’t say anything.>

Charlie: “Your silence is deafening.

You treat me like a stranger.

I’m your only friend. I’m not your only friend.

Maybe you don’t know me because you’re dead wrong.”

<Finally, Zach breaks his silence.>

Zach: “Mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah”

Charlie: “Here’s my number, so call me…”